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March 20, 2021 11:01 am

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Photo by Y. Ivanko.

A neutral, environmentally friendly detergent has been developed to clean the monument.

The Victory Monument on Poklonnaya Gora is one of the tallest monuments not only in Russia, but also in the world. Its height is 141.8 meters: every 10 centimeters of the obelisk symbolizes one day of the Great Patriotic War. The height of the monument on Poklonnaya Gora overtakes the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the monument “Motherland Calls!” and the Statue of Liberty.

Every spring, the specialists of the municipal economy complex wash all the capital’s engineering structures, including the monuments. And the monument on Poklonnaya Hill, due to its height and complex relief, is one of the most difficult to carry out work. Read about how a complex architectural structure is cleaned after winter in the article.

Working with the weather

Early in the morning on Poklonnaya Gora there are no strolling townspeople or tourists: instead of them, the majestic and austere Victory Monument was surrounded by special equipment, and specialists in orange suits, similar to divers, are preparing for work. The only difference is that they will not be diving, but ascending.

While one team is cleaning the equestrian statue of St. George the Victorious, the second is gently moving upward on a lift, where a small anemometer is spinning – a device for measuring wind speed. Such devices are normally installed on most lifts to ensure safety.

“When washing the main monument, we usually use two hydraulic elevators with a height of 40 to 70 meters, we use two manual washing teams of 10 people each and two watering machines. The whole process takes up to 12 hours. To completely wash the Victory Monument, you need about 20 cubic meters of water and five liters of detergent, “notes Oleg Mashoshin, deputy head of the Gormost State Budgetary Institution for Operation of Engineering Structures.

In order not to damage the monuments, Gormost starts flushing in March and only at above-zero temperatures. This is necessary to prevent the formation of ice dangerous for monuments. When planning work, specialists adjust to weather conditions and cooperate with forecasters: the Moscow Hydrometeorological Bureau sends a forecast for 12 hours, 24 hours and for a week twice a day.

Special equipment and industrial mountaineering

As soon as the lift reaches the middle of the monument (70 meters), a person in overalls begins the procedure. The stele is preliminarily washed with a stream of water, after which the relief is covered with a white foam of detergent. From the outside it may seem that the monument is covered with snow.

Several years ago, by order of the Gormost State Budgetary Institution, a special agent for cleaning monuments with a neutral ratio of acids and alkalis was developed. Its composition is completely biodegradable and environmentally friendly. At the same time, the agent gently affects the material of the monument, which allows it to preserve its original appearance.

“Polished granite, bronze – it is undesirable to use any other means here, because we can damage the natural color of the monument. If the patina is washed off, then the metal will not have the desired appearance and the architect’s idea will collapse. Accordingly, polished granite will look different when using stronger chemicals with high acidity. We will burn the polish, the material will deteriorate, ”emphasizes Oleg Mashoshin.

By the way, the mark of 70 meters, at which the worker stops, was also not chosen by chance. Experts note that this is the maximum height of the object’s contamination. Exhaust gases, dust and dirt that settle on the monument usually do not rise above this mark. Due to the strong wind, there is no pollution such as below.

Nevertheless, if necessary, work can be carried out on the upper part of the Victory Monument. This is monitored around the clock by a special team located at the facility. If suddenly the stele needs flushing, then industrial climbers take over the work. They go upstairs using an elevator located inside the monument, and get out through special observation windows.

Clean Moscow

Gormost’s specialists will not disregard the rest of Moscow’s facilities. They will wash not only the Victory Monument – there are more than two thousand engineering structures on the list.

“We wash engineering and bridge structures, underground and glazed pedestrian crossings, quays, embankments, monuments and monumental art objects. More than 250 units of specialized washing equipment and more than two thousand specialists and workers are involved in the work, ”said Oleg Mashoshin.

After winter, all objects are treated with brushes and special solutions. Engineering structures are washed with an alkaline detergent with low acidity, and monuments and monumental art objects – with a neutral one.

Gormost also prepares concrete and metal surfaces for spring: it removes old and peeled paint, cleans it from corrosion and dirt. After flushing, all structures will be re-painted.

The work is carried out around the clock, experts expect to complete them by the end of April.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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